These Carrot Cake Pancakes are the perfect healthy breakfast that tastes just like dessert. They make eating your vegetables each morning fun and exciting!
Packed with carrot puree to keep things incognito, maple syrup, vanilla, and fluffy white whole-wheat flour, these veggie-filled pancakes will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Serve them for Easter brunch, a weekend treat, or batch cook them and pull them out of the freezer for a nutritious weekday brekkie.
You may find using veggie puree in pancakes a bit outside the norm, but it guarantees a sweet pancake that your family will enjoy, without any pushback. These pancakes are soft, fluffy, and spiced to perfection.
Why add carrot puree?
Pureeing food is a simple, incognito way to add just about any fruit or veggie into a meal so that your picky eaters won’t complain.
If you’re pinched for time and pureeing just isn’t in the cards, check the baby food aisle for carrot puree. Just remember—minimal, recognizable ingredients. The only ingredients should be carrots and possibly a small amount of salt.
Bulk prepping your purees
If you’ve followed our journey, you know how much we absolutely LOVE (and live by) cooking meals in bulk. The leftovers simplify future meals and save SO MUCH TIME! We recommend taking a similar approach when pureeing veggies. While everything is out, make extra carrot puree to freeze for future meals, such as these delicious pancakes or Hidden Veggie Macaroni or Cheese.
How to make carrot puree
Pureeing is MUCH simpler than it sounds. Basically, all you need is a steamer, pot, or microwave to soften your carrots; a food processor or high-speed blender; and a little water. Build up a stash of purees in your freezer and simply replenish whenever necessary.
Steaming on the stovetop:
- Put 1–2 inches of water in the bottom of a pot.
- Add steamer basket or collapsible colander (without the carrots), cover and bring water to a boil.
- Add a bag of organic baby carrots, cover the pot with a lid and steam until they’re tender when pierced with a fork.
- Place your baby carrots on a foil or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. You can, but don’t have to, cover them with foil to lock in moisture.
- Roast until tender.
Freezing carrot puree for future meals:
- Let the carrots cool, then put them into the food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. Add a few tablespoons of water from boiling/steaming to help the pureeing process, if necessary. Don’t add too much water, as you want the puree to be thick.
- Portion out and package the puree. We often measure it out into quarter-cup to half-cup portions in small mason jars. You can also transfer puree into ice cube trays, cover the trays with plastic wrap or a lid, and freeze. Store the frozen cubes in baggies. (Each cube equals about 1 oz. and can easily be popped into individual meals such as scrambled eggs or soup.)
- If you plan to use the puree within a few days, place the pre-portioned puree in the fridge. Use mason jars, freezer baggies, or airtight containers to freeze the rest. Label your purees with the type of food, amount (in cups or ounces) and date so you can keep track of which ones to use first.
Freezing your Carrot Cake Pancakes
These healthy pancakes can be made in advance and frozen for future meals. Simply allow them to cool before storing in an airtight freezer-safe container or freezer bag (press out any extra air to help prevent freezer burn). Freeze for up to 3 months.
When starting out, I was less than stellar at making the perfect pancake. There was the time I burnt them to a charred crisp, another that I flipped them way before they were set and let’s not forget the day I used a stainless steel pan… OH MY, what a mess!
Becoming a pro pancake maker has taken some time, so I wanted to share the best tricks I’ve learned over the years to reach pancake perfection.
- Use a non-stick pan or griddle, like this one.
- Do the “sizzle test.” Heat the pan on medium-high heat. Do the “sizzle test” to know when your pan’s ready by running your fingers under some water and flicking a few water droplets on the pan. When you hear a slight sizzle, the pan is warm enough to add the batter.
- Add just enough butter or oil to coat the surface of your pan. You don’t need much, but without it your batter will stick.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low when cooking your pancakes. When you initially add your batter, you want that higher heat to crisp them, BUT once your batter is poured, lower your heat and allow those babies to brown slowly. I know this takes a little longer but it’s better than burnt pancakes.
- Don’t flip them too soon. After pouring your batter, wait until the top of your pancakes show little bubbles that pop. Take a look underneath and if they’re golden brown, it’s time to flip.
Tasty toppings for your Carrot Cake Pancakes:
- Greek yogurt mixed with a tiny amount of honey or maple syrup
- 1:1 ratio of cream cheese and Greek yogurt mixture
- Maple syrup
- 1:1 ratio of almond or cashew butter mixed with cottage cheese
- Fresh fruit
Some ways to “reinvent” your leftover pancakes:
- Pancake sandwich: fresh berries and a smear of goat, cream or cottage cheese as the filling, sandwiched between two pancakes (served hot or cold)
- Sliced into strips (for brekkie, lunch, or a snack): served cold with a side of fresh fruit and plain yogurt that’s mixed with a drizzle of maple syrup as a dipping sauce